Young climber on the up with bid to make history on Everest

Mollie Hughes is set for Chinese ascent
Mollie Hughes is set for Chinese ascent
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A woman is aiming to make history by becoming the youngest Briton to climb Mount Everest from both sides.

Mollie Hughes, 26, from Torbay, Devon, plans to tackle the world’s highest peak 8,848m for a second time in May after successfully climbing the mountain from its south side in 2012.

Ms Hughes, who works in Edinburgh at outdoor retailer Tiso, plans to take on the north side of the mountain to raise funds for Cancer Research UK.

The feat would see her become the youngest British national, the youngest European woman and the first English female to scale the peak from both the north and south sides.

The current British record is held by Lynne Hannah, 54, from Northern Ireland, who achieved ascents from both sides in 2016. In 1975, Junko Tabei (Japan) became the first female climber to summit the mountain that in 1953 was first officially climbed by Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary.

On her adventure, primarily supported by Tiso, Ms Hughes will be joined by Jon Gupta, an experienced climber from Mountain Expeditions.

Ms Hughes said: “To climb Mount Everest is an incredible experience, one that is also the ultimate test of your psychological resolve and ability to cope with physical suffering.

“After over two years of preparation, training is going well and I am really excited to be climbing with Jon Gupta.

“I am also hugely appreciative to have the invaluable financial and technical support of Tiso, the outdoor adventure specialist, for an ascent of the spectacular north side of the mountain that will push us to the limit.

“I love climbing and adventurous activities. Hopefully, my second expedition to Mount Everest will inspire other young women to realise that with careful planning and determination, challenges can be overcome and dreams achieved.” While many climbers choose to ascend from the south, the north route from a base camp in Tibet, China is considered to expose the mountaineers to colder and windier conditions.

This route includes an arduous and psychologically testing final day of ascent over three prominent rocky steps on the northeast ridge. All negotiated at an altitude of over 8,500 metres in the so-called ‘death zone.’

Chris Tiso, chief executive of Tiso Group, who was part of the 2000 Tiso expedition on which Polly Murray became the first Scottish woman to summit Mount Everest, believes that Ms Hughes can achieve her dream.

He said: “A talented and focused climber, Mollie Hughes is an inspirational young woman.

“I am very proud that Tiso will be returning to Mount Everest in support of Mollie Hughes Everest 2017 bid for which she is making meticulous preparation.

“All at Tiso Group wish her a safe and successful expedition.” The climbers will travel to China in April to acclimatise, with the aim to stand atop Mount Everest on May 19 in temperatures of minus 40C.

In addition to the support from Tiso Group, Ms Hughes is also receiving help from the philanthropist Kae Tinto Murray, from Osprey Backpacks and the engineering firm ch2m.